July 3, 2022
Last Sunday, instead of sitting down to write you, I was making a farm fresh breakfast for our first cottage-stay guests. I've dreamt of sharing a morning on the farm with others and finally was able to do so. We listened to songbirds and recapped the lovely evening they had at our first Dine on the Land of 2022.
My gosh what it took to get here!
November 2021 we realized that the construction needed to meet County requirements for gathering at our five-acre property would never be recouped. We had to pivot or pack it up. We were aware of a property two miles down the way that with a lot of time and resources could be an incredible place to grow. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time and resources to pull it off.
So, we did the prudent thing and put in an offer!
We put in an offer with zero resources with a closing date of by year-end. By December we still didn’t have a solid mortgage commitment. We knew we’d have to think outside the box to raise the funds and thanks to finding a crumpled-up business card, we met someone who’d helped farmers gain access to land by harnessing the support of the community they’d built around them. With a collaborative equity plan, we reached out to the group of people who knew our passion and vision the best: our dinner guests, our farm box subscribers, our kids camp parents, and those with a desire to see a shift in the culture of farming and rural communities.
We raised more than 50% of the down-payment by February 1 by our Locavore community and secured grants through two very generous and impactful organizations dedicated to farmers who create community and steward the planets resources well: Potlikker Capital and Healing Soils Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Iroquois Valley Farms REIT. We closed February 28.
The next 116 days were filled with many challenges and opportunities for complete failure. Yet, every need was met. The most incredible professional and construction team came together to tackle plumbing, electric, carpentry, engineering, tree removal, designs, structural and foundation repairs, storm sewer and culvert repair, including rebuilding a 1/4 mile drive and broken septic field for a parking lot. Every member was willing to work with us on payments and turnaround time, many working through the night to see it through. Admittedly, several of the contractors thought we were in over our head and would never make a June opening. Each experienced an obstacle that at the moment appeared insurmountable but without fail, God helped us by making the rough places smooth. In the end, each obstacle wasn't just met, but guided us to a better result than we initially intended.
We've painted over a mile of fence, replaced every pipe and run wires through hundreds of feet of conduit. Walls have been torn down and rebuilt with new windows, doors and trim throughout. Dead limbs have become the base of robust garden beds and a driveway that took six minutes to drive down with broken culverts has been transformed into a smooth 1/4 drive, taking under two!
We were faced with giving up or going forward! We chose the road with the most risk, least comfort, most criticism and have found ourselves in the most beautiful setting, filled with unlimited opportunities for growth and community/connection.
This morning, I can say, we are living our dream. Seven years ago we would travel to markets with pictures and videos to describe to people a dining experience on our farm at an incredibly long table for 100 guests to dine where the food on the plate is seen growing or roaming in the field. We promoted our place - Locavore - where a farmer becomes a chef and through a love and intimate understanding of food, creates a multi-course feast and shares a few hours on her rural property to reset and refresh the heart of the busy, urban and suburban dweller -all while creating a new cultural experience in the Midwest countryside.
Locavore is a connector of people, one to another and to their rural roots, grounding the human heart to recall the simple good things put forth by the Creator for all to enjoy.
Our vision came from Psalm 104 back in August 2014 and is posted at the bar for all to see. This poster is also displayed in the homes of many of our guests, who resonate with this living word of truth and have found great joy as their hands and homes cultivate the good things in their own lives.
On June 25, we had our first 100 person dinner at the new location. ABC News joined us for a feature that will be shared across the country. We are open, Y'all! We are ready to share dinner and stories of our journey this season. We want to encourage you in your heart's desire and next endeavor too!
Until next week,
Mrs. Farmer Jones
P.S. : A special hello to Rosemary Veracruz and the entire Daniel Latus community! You all are incredible.
Reserve Your Seat at the Table
We have listed our one-of-a -kind farm-stay experience on VRBO. Our cozy cottage on our new 30-acre farm estate is ready to be booked. Enjoy a rural landscape and the simple beauty of country living. Harvest vegetables, herbs, and flowers from the gardens, as well as stock your fridge with the farm’s pasture-raised meats, local grass-fed dairy (milk and cheese) and scratch-made baked goods. Each morning, you’ll fetch your own eggs and experience the bounty of having your own homestead. Relax and enjoy the farm as your own - choose to participate in chores or just slow down and let the rural landscape nurture your soul.